What to see in Bwindi?
What to see in Bwindi during your safari in Uganda? There are so many attractions in and nearby Bwindi that tourists on a safari get to see. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park harbors what most people in the dream want to see and these are the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas share 98% DNA with human beings and these are found n the 4 different sectors of the park namely Nkuringo, Rushaga, Buhoma, and Ruhija.
Mountain gorillas are the main reason as to why people move from different parts of the world and come to the park but there are other attractions in the park such as the Batwa, the birds, the vegetation, and much more. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is located in the southwestern part of the country and it can be accessed at any time of the year using air transport or road transport.
What to see in Bwindi during your safari in Uganda?
The following are top things to see in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park in Uganda;
Mountain gorillas in Bwindi
Mountain gorillas are the main attractions in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. There are more than half of the mountain gorillas in the Bwindi impenetrable forest national park located in the southwestern part of Uganda. To see these mountain gorillas of Bwindi you need to first book a gorilla trekking permit or habituation permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The gorilla trekking permit at Uganda Wildlife Authority costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 foreign residents, and shs250,000 East African citizens. The habituation permits cost $1500 foreign non-residents, $1000 foreign residents, and shs750,000 East African citizens.
Once you have the trekking or habituation permits, you will have to get a briefing from the rangers after which the ranger guides will lead trekkers into the jungle. While looking for the mountain gorillas, the trekkers are likely to see animals such as elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, birds, and different bird species. Once you meet the mountain gorillas, you will be given 1 hour or 4 hours to be with mountain gorillas and this will help you learn about the habits, watch them do daily activities, and take photos.
Birds in Bwindi
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is home to over 351 bird species and this makes it one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. Tourists to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can encounter some of these bird species in different trailheads such as the River Ivi trail between Nkuringo and Buhoma, Munyaga River Trail, Mubwindi swamp trail, and bamboo trail.
Birds you can encounter in Bwindi include Purple-breasted Sunbird, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Brown Woodland Warbler, Archer’s Robin-Chat, White-browed Crombec, Blue-headed Sunbird, Tiny Sunbird, Dusky Crimson-wing, Green-throated Sunbird, Strange Weaver, African Pitta, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Regal Sunbird, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Grey-headed Negrofinch, Grauer’s Warbler, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Collared Apalis, Klass’ Cuckoo, Montane Masked Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush, Collared Sunbird, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike, White-breasted Negrofinch, and Rwenzori Nightjar.
Other birds to see in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park include Green-headed Sunbird, Red-throated Alethe, Dusky Tit, Grey-headed Sparrow, Crowned Hornbill, Neumann’s Warbler, Lagden’s Bush-shrike, Stripe-breasted Tit, Great Blue Turaco, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Green Crombec, Grey Apalis, Evergreen Warbler, Green Hylia, Cardinal Woodpecker, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Grey-throated Barbet, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Buff-throated Apalis, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Cassin’s Honeybird, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Coppery Sunbird, Dark-backed Weaver, and Dusky Crested Flycatcher.
Batwa pygmies in Bwindi
Tourists to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can spend some time with the Batwa pygmies. The Batwa pygmies were the first inhabitants in the Bwindi impenetrable forest but the government decided to evict them out of the forest in order to protect wild animals most especially the mountain gorillas.
To get to the Batwa people you will have to inform your tour operator so that they organize and get you a person from the Batwa people who will guide you around the forest and even take you to the community. The Batwa people will take you around the forest showing you different ways of how they used to live in the forest, collect honey and fruits, make fires from sticks, use plants as local medicine, and kill animals using arrows and bows.
The Batwa will take you to the communities they do live in where you will meet different people, watch their way of dressing, witness them do day to day life, get entertained by the traditional dances through songs and drama, and lastly, you can support the women buying some of their crafts.
What is the best time to visit Bwindi and see its attractions?
Tourists can visit Bwindi impenetrable forest national park at any time of year to see the attractions in the park but there are some months that are better than the rest. The drier months are the best to visit the park because they are characterized by little or no rainfall. These drier months occur from June to September and December to February. When you visit the park in the dry season, you will find the trekking trails less muddy and slippery, the vegetation will be thin giving clear views of the animals and birds, and the roads leading to the park will be passable.
Tourists can as well visit the park in the rainy seasons but this mostly favors the budget travelers because they get huge discounts on accommodation facilities. The rainy months include March, May, October, and November and these come with plenty of rainfall. When you visit Bwindi impenetrable forest in the rainy season, expect the trekking trails to be muddy and slippery, the vegetation thick, and the roads leading to the park impassable.
Accommodation in different sectors of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Accommodation in Rushaga sector – Rushaga Gorilla havens lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Nshongi Camp, Four Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, and Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge among others.
Accommodation in Ruhija sector – Bakiga Lodge, Cuckooland Tented Camp, Ruhija campsite, Ruhija Safari Lodge, Broadbill Forest Camp, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Trekkers Tavern cottages, and Gorilla Mist Camp among others.
Accommodation in Nkuringo sector – Lake Mulehe Gorilla Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Heights Lodge, Crested Crane Bwindi Lodge, and Bwindi Back Packer’s Lodge among others.
Accommodation in Buhoma sector – Buhoma Lodge, Trekkers Tavern, Engagi Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Bwindi View Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Gorilla resort, Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge, and Jungle View Lodge among others.
Getting to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
Tourists who want to encounter some of the attractions in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can get there in only a single day using either road transport or road transport. By road transport, tourists can get to Bwindi from Kampala/Entebbe using Masaka – Mbarara- Kabale or Kisoro road depending on the sector they are visit. The journey takes 87-9 hours but there is that of Kigali via Cyanika border in Kisoro and Katuna border in Kabale which takes 4-5 hours.
Luxury travelers can also inform their tour operators in advance to book them a seat and they use air transport to Bwindi. The flights are organized by AeroLink Uganda and Fly Uganda from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport every day. Flights to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park land at Kisoro airstrip for the case of Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors while Kihihi airstrip its for Buhoma and Ruhija sectors.